Merkel Should Speak on Human Rights in China, Uighur Group Says

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit to China provides an opportunity for her to speak out against the “repressive measures” meted out by the Chinese government on its Muslim Uighur population, the president of the World Uighur Congress said.

“The past two years have seen an increase in the use of violence and an even more heavy-handed approach by the Chinese in the region,” Rebiya Kadeer said in an open letter addressed to Merkel.

Merkel visits China July 5 to July 8 and has meetings scheduled with President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang. Xinjiang province, home to most of China’s 10 million Uighurs, has been beset with tension between the minority and the majority Han Chinese, after explosions killed 39 people and injured 94 on May 22.

“We collectively urge you to use your influence to conduct both constructive and positive dialog with Chinese leadership in hopes of addressing the human rights concerns for those that have no real voice,” Kadeer said.

Xi pledged earlier this year to punish violence and “spare no effort” to maintain stability after the death toll increased in the northwestern region.

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